The word "measles" in a dictionary

Questions about measles or the measles vaccine?

March 7, 2019

With reports of an infant infected with measles in Toronto, we’ve been receiving questions about vaccinating against this highly infectious and potentially dangerous disease.

When do babies and children get the measles vaccine?

  • Children normally receive their first dose of measles vaccine when they turn one year old.
  • Children as young as six months can receive the vaccine if they are travelling.
  • If you’re planning to travel and you have questions about vaccines, speak with your healthcare provider.
  • See the Recommended Immunization Schedule for Children from Infancy to 6 Years

Who can get the measles vaccine?

  • The vaccine is safe for children and for women who are breastfeeding.

How effective is the measles vaccine?

  • Following two doses, measles vaccine is nearly 100% effective. 
  • Among people who are not immune, over 90% will become infected if they’re exposed to the measles virus.

How common is measles in our area?

  • Measles is rare in Canada, but we’re seeing outbreaks in B.C., the United States and now a case in Toronto.
  • Most cases are travel related where someone picked up the disease in another part of the world.

How serious is measles?

  • Measles infection can cause serious illness, particularly in infants.
  • Symptoms of measles can appear up until 21 days after exposure and include:
    • A high fever

    • Cold-like symptoms (cough/runny nose)

    • Sore eyes or sensitivity to light

    • Small spots with a white centre on the inside of the mouth

    • A red rash lasting four to seven days

  • Measles can lead to ear infections, lung infections, swelling of the brain, or death.
  • Your best defense is getting vaccinated.

Looking for more information?